Dreamed 1985/5/9 by Chris Wayan
Call me Wayan. I'm a young humanoid male, with short patchy fur and scaly skin, recruited from an obscure planet. I can pass for human in a bad light, but not on second glance. I work as a secret agent, using the Steps Between Realities. There's a war on, you know.
Right now I'm on the level below Headquarters, a place called Earth. I'm caught as a spy, but not by our enemy--I'm mistaken for a spy in some tribal skirmish. They call it World War Two.
When they get a good look at me, they see I'm not one of them. My questioner sees my coat as little wings and asks, shaken "Are you an Angel or a Devil?" He'll accept those, but not aliens! I DO have vestigial fins under the coat, but not wings... What can I tell a man with only three labels? Man, angel, devil--and I'm none of the above.
Luckily, they don't realize the Stairs manifest branches almost everywhere. I leap from the chair and run to the corner of the room and open the Stairs I sensed there, and go up--out of their world!
But he SEES the door, and comes through, after me! I'm faster, of course, for I know the way. At the top, I have a few seconds to hide. Doff my coat and sit at a sewing machine and look calm and intent. I'm androgenous and I figure a soldier will see a woman. Ignore him and hope he'll chase another agent. Lots of us here in HQ, after all!
Then I realize... all this drama is just a prelude meant to grab you by putting me in a tight spot! And imply what sort of things an agent must be ready to do. Rather than fight or flight, I go on sewing. He leaves at last.
I go out another door, into another world. And the REAL plot starts... NOW.
Night. I'm riding in a convertible. It's a warm evening, and the top is down. I'm a woman with long dark hair, in a red velveteen dress. The driver's a handsome, rich young man from another reality level. But it's no romantic ride--not for me at least. He tries to seduce me with an upper-class polish and charm I could never match. I tell him frankly "I don't trust you." Sense a brutality under the shine.
He deploys his ultimate weapon. "Chris...will you marry me?" But he wants me to return with him to his home level--and I have good reason not to trust him. There, his power is absolute--their society's feudal and he's an overlord who can kill me for disobedience. And he resents that on THIS side he has to ASK for what he wants--and what he wants is me. He's dangerous. He might just kill me out of spite if I say no.
I say "Yes." But I'm not honest with him--play silly, spoiled, selfish, so he'll marry me thinking of it as a bit of a joke, a shock waiting for me when I come "home" and find him absolute ruler. When my eyes are open. I know how to enter the Steps between Worlds in a few minutes from anywhere--even his castle. So I CAN get out--the question is how to end it so he'll leave me alone afterward.
But I didn't anticipate what happens when I cross with him. I change AGAIN!
Now I'm fused with my double in this world. I'm a man. An aristocrat, a young, arrogant man, much what I feared in my fiancé. I have a twin brother who's lord of this castle. I have my own small keep, on a cliff by the sea--the familiar California sea! Fog, kelp forests, jade on the beaches... even the roads are in the same places--only they're dirt, rutted and pocked by oxcarts and horsemen. It's all half-familiar--except me.
Suddenly, like a film snapping into focus, I snap into this world. I feel what my double does. I HATE the peasants! I'm captive to his moods, his habits.
And they're even worse than I knew. The sickle moon's rising, day is near. And a new habit takes over.
I, he, I come out every morning, pre-dawn, and here outside the drawbridge, I kill a random peasant. By the gates, vultures perch and watch with interest. Some of them are even birds. Others idly place bets on who it'll be today. Eyes glitter like the rubies they bet with. Cold eyes of the rich! Inside my double, I'm horrified, but can't wrest control of our body away...
The Peasant Sacrifice today has the outer form of a tiny fawn. She walks along a gravelly bank, steep and sliding. I stalk her, on an old leveled bed--train tracks! (My imprisoned mind thinks "So they had technology here, but fell!") The fawn walks round a point and I follow. We're alone now--I can kill her. But I inside use all my strength--I can't take over, but succeed in paralyzing my double. Our body hesitates.... Look across the cove to a window-rock where my Twin watches with gleaming eyes. He's even meaner than me. And he and his right-hand man are my best friends here! I shudder.
Rusty parts of handguns litter the gravel roadbed where trains once flew... Spot one gun that seems nearly whole. Clean and examine it. It doesn't fire bullets. It's a LABEL gun!
Labels. Is THAT how they ruined the world?
NOTES NEXT MORNING
That arrogant feudal lord in another world has one more meaning I hesitate to mention. Since the dream, several psychics who've done free readings on me for practice have brought up similar impressions that I was someone rather like this in a recent past life--mercurial, intelligent, but overprivileged and thus scornful of practicality and body-care. They described me as not nearly so cruel as this dream's alter ego, but I when I read this dream I'm troubled by the parallel.
Could my anorexia be entrenched bad habit (or even deliberate penance for crimes) older than this life?
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